Photoshop Daily - Free resources for the Photoshop community

Create an easy digital frame

by The Photoshop Daily Team. 9 Jun 2009

We’ve been having a think about what you can use some of our free resources for and have come up with a great idea for all you digital crafters out there


We’ve been having a think about what you can use some of our free resources for and have come up with a great idea for all you digital crafters out there. And that idea is… create a frame!

The concept is extremely simple – open one of our texture files (we are using the wood file from, select an area to delete and then apply a cheeky bevel effect. You can use any type of image for a digital frame and make the bevel as subtle or proud as you like.

This effect is great for digital scrapbooks, or even creating an online album. Because they are so easy to create, you can set aside a couple of hours to make lots of frame templates, ready for you to add your images to as and when you need.

If you’d like to use the one we’ve created here, click the link below. You’ll find the starter file in addition to a ‘frame’ file.

Click here for the source files!

Step 1 – Come out of the background

Create an easy digital frame

Open up the file you want to use as a frame. It will become the Background layer as default, which is no good for editing. Double-click on it and name the layer ‘frame’. Create a new transparent layer (Layer menu>New) and make sure this is below your Frame layer. Without this, the bevel effect will only work on the outside of the frame.


Step 2 – Select and delete

Create an easy digital frame

Pick the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the toolbar (with Feather set to 0) and use it to select the area that your image will peer through. You can either make a freehand selection or if you want a set size, use the Fixed Size or Fixed Aspect Ratio settings from the Style drop-down menu in the top options bar. You might also find it useful to call up the rulers to avoid unequal edges – summon them from View>Rulers. Once you have made your selection, press Delete.


Step 3 – Bevel time

Create an easy digital frame

Deselect (Select>Deselect), go up to the Layers menu, click on Layer Style and then scoot over to Bevel and Emboss. Select Inner Bevel from the Style drop-down menu and pick Smooth from Technique. You can adjust the prominence of the bevel using the Depth slider and the size is controlled by the, erm, Size slider. If you find the highlight or shadow a touch overpowering, adjust the opacity using the slider.


Step 4 – Add your image

Create an easy digital frame

Now the frame is sorted, you need something to put in it. Open up the photo or image you want to frame. Select the part you want (most often this will be a Select>Select all command) and then copy (Edit>Copy). Return to your frame document and paste (Edit>Paste). It’s good practice to make sure the dpi of the frame image and the pasted image are the same, which can be checked beforehand using the Image>Image Size option. Use the Move and Transform tools to position your photo in the frame. Make sure your photo layer is below the frame layer.


triptychTip – A frame for all images
Don’t feel limited to creating a run-of-the-mill frame – experiment with the amount of areas you cut out and construct a frame to handle multiple images. The process is exactly the same as above, except you make more than one selection! Try different selection shapes as well. In our example we created an easy triptych effect just by cutting three rectangles out and then adding one image behind.

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    • Craig


      No woodworker would ever make a frame that looks like that. The top and bottom sections run parallel to the grain and would be very weak. Therefore the frame immediately jumps out as poorly designed fake.

    • Jo Cole

      Hi Craig,
      I knew my woeful knowledge of woodwork would catch me out one day! Thanks for the comment, I never knew that about wood grain. I’d be amazed if anyone thought the frame was real and it was just an example of how the texture could be used. The technique will work with any image.

    • Karyn

      Thanks for the tutorial. I was wondering how to do this and my frame worked out great!

    • Sab

      This is good for workers with photoshop but real look of wood frame or any frame you can imgine AutoCAD will make very ease, and grain is not going to be a problem

    • Don Molander

      I have often tried to use custom frames for my pictures – this is one of the easiest- Thanks…